A 2022 poll conducted by the Brookings Institution suggests that unfavorable views towards Muslims and Jews have flatlined and may even be declining.
America’s antisemitic and Islamophobic fringe has recently been emboldened. But the number of people with these views is actually declining, @ShibleyTelhami and @Stella_Rouse find. https://t.co/EIMtJZBmEu
— The Brookings Institution (@BrookingsInst) January 4, 2023
In their new report, the DC-based nonprofit public policy think tank documented trends of the American general public’s attitudes and perceptions towards various religious groups, including Muslims, Jews, Atheists, and Evangelical Christians.
According to one of the surveys in their report measuring Americans’ attitudes toward Muslims, favorable views of Muslims went up from 58% in May 2016 to 78% in May 2022, showing a 20% increase since the rise of former President Donald Trump.
As Americans’ favorable views of Muslims went up, their unfavorable attitudes toward them went down from 41% in June 2016 to just 22% in May 2022.
Americans from both parties are also starting to become open to electing a Muslim President. In another survey, despite high opposition. Brookings reported that in 2020, 56% of Republicans opposed the idea of electing a Muslim as President compared to just 14% of Democrats who said the same.
In 2022, the numbers went lower for Republicans and Democrats, with 44% of Republicans opposing the idea and only 9% of Democrats saying the same. The total number of Americans who oppose electing a Muslim as President went down from 34% in 2020 to 26% in 2022.
The polls also reported that Jewish presidential candidates faced the least opposition from the general American public, with about 7% of Republicans polled expressing opposition to the idea and 5% of Democrats opposed the idea of electing a Jewish president in 2022. The reports suggest that despite rising antisemitism in the United States, Jews still maintain substantial support from both parties.
The Brookings explained that the decline of anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States was caused by Trump’s campaign targeting Muslims since his rise to the presidency in 2016, even when discourse against Muslims expanded and intensified.
On the other hand, groups that welcomed Trump and Trump embraced back, notably, Evangelical Christians, faced the most backlash, especially from Democrats. In one of the polls, Brookings reported that 34% of Democrats oppose electing an Evangelical Christian presidential candidate in 2022, compared to 30% in 2020.
Even though Americans’ anti-Muslim and antisemitic views are in decline, Brookings acknowledged the rise of attacks against Muslims and Jews in the United States, as documented by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
For instance, antisemitic incidents rose to 34% from 2020 to 2021, including a 43% increase in harassment and a 164% increase in assaults. Muslim Americans have also become increasingly targeted, with a 9% increase in anti-Muslim incidents from 2020 and a 28% increase in hate and bias incidents against them.
In the end, the authors concluded the report by saying that the rise of the extremist fringe encouraged by Trump and targeting Muslims and Jews “have been more of a vertical effect (the intensity of a few voices), though dangerous nonetheless, rather than a horizontal effect (the expansion in the number of voices).”